Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Someone Somewhere

Today someone, somewhere will get the news. Maybe it will be the person, maybe it will be the parents, but today someone, somewhere will get the news that they, or that their child, is on the autism spectrum.

It's almost a certain guarantee that someone, somewhere will hear this news. The rates of autism are growing and the current numbers, here in America, are that about 1 in 100 live births will be on the autism spectrum. In Missouri it's 1 in 84. That's more children than will be diagnosed with diabetes, AIDS, and cancer combined!

When someone, somewhere gets the news, I feel it is the most important day in their life because they can go down many roads. Will they find the information that I did? When I was diagnosed I did a search on the internet, this was back in 2003, and I found a website that said, "People on the spectrum will never have a job, won't have friends, and can not be happy." This was the first thing I read so I believed it. I mean, if it's on the web it must be true, right? Today, do a search on Google, and you will get 82,100,000 possible pages. Of these, sadly, someone, somewhere may find a page like I did. They are out there, be it from doctors who don't know the human potential, to people on the spectrum stating that it is impossible.

There is better way for a family or person if they can find the right information after hearing the news. For someone, somewhere the diagnosis does not have to end their life, as they knew it, on that day. Instead of reading the misinformation that's out there, I hope they instead see the potential and hopefully find a page about Temple Grandin, and maybe see the list of people in history that were, or suspected of being on the spectrum.

The autism community is growing each day as someone, somewhere gets the news. Whether it is someone like myself, or parents, the internet is a medium to find out what that means. Because of this, I feel we must try to keep our best foot forward. Sadly, not everyone is going to find TouchPoint's parents guide to autism. Not everyone is going to keep that word of hope in their vocabulary.

Keeping hope alive is critical. I lived 14 months without it and it was very tough. I got off to a bad start reading that garbage. Still, today, I hear stories all the time of people finding those bad pages, or even videos on YouTube professing that being on the spectrum is a one-way ticket to "nevers" and "won'ts". Just on Monday, my dad told me of a person he knows whose family is going through the same thing I did.

I have many passions regarding the autism spectrum and have talked to many different types of audiences, but I feel the most vital listener is the someone, somewhere, who today gets the news . Granted, I can't speak directly to them, but by raising the awareness and understanding across the board, perhaps, the number of people who know the facts will have a louder voice than the one's who say life is impossible.

Look, I know the diagnosis is not seen as a message of good news at the time. Also, there will be challenges and some things may be more difficult. However, everyone in their life will have challenges, won't they? If the person, or parents, believe those people on those web pages that say all is lost then someone, somewhere may just believe it and then the real tragedy begins.

Because of all this, we all share in the voice of reality. No one person is going to open everyone's eyes to this. I feel I'm doing my part with my presentations and blogs, but everyone has the chance to change one person's world. If you know that someone, somewhere has gotten that news today you can be their voice that could turn them away from the misinformation that is out there.

You may think I may have dehumanized the aspect of the spectrum by just referring to the new people by saying "someone, somewhere." But I phrased it like this for a reason because I see it as some"ONE" and for that "ONE" person, today, whether they hear "your son," "your daughter," or "you, yourself,  are on the autism spectrum," the stories they hear, or web pages they visit, may shape that "ONE" person's life forever.


  1. It's almost been year since we heard the news and our son has made huge strides in life, thanks in part to TouchPoint!

  2. Bad news? I never saw my diagnosis as bad news. After my diagnosis I went home with a big smile!
    I could finally get the right help!
    Think about it. :) Autism is caused by something different in the brain (I'm not going to explain the whole biological thing here), which you've probably had your whole life.
    Meaning: You didn't just get autism by getting the diagnosis, you've had it all your life.
    The reason why your life was such a struggle, was because people didn't know you have autism, so they didn't understand the way you think. This caused for a lot of struggle trying to explain yourself, trying to get the right help, trying to get by without the proper adjustments , etc.
    Of course it was hard to reach your potential when all that took so much from you!

    But now you have your diagnosis. You have a way of explaining everything that's happening and you can ask for the proper adjustments. Also, if needed, you can apply for counseling/guidance. And there's much more stuff like this you can suddenly do to make everything much more easier.

    Doing all this (which of the above exactly depends on the person) will probably make it a lot easier to function in daily life.
    Having eliminated a lot of your struggle, you can finally use that time/energy/focus/etc to get to your full potential.
    Finally you get to show who you truly are behind all the struggle. It's not the autism defining you. You had it your whole life. It's finally being able to work WITH it, not against it. You get to see what talents you have and use them.
    Show yourself to the world. :)

  3. From a professional standpoint, that is why I purposely created critical appraisal assignments of autism resources out there.

    I benefitted from being a professional student on day 1 of this journey because I have access to a lot of good quality information. However, a lot of people who started out are not that fortunate... and it shouldn't be. By having this type of assignment, students will get to know more closely on what individuals with autism and their families are dealing with.